We’re back from a busy week of travel to Edinburgh and Dublin where we took in the sites, visited some colleges and indulged in the local cuisine. Here are some of the things we’re still raving about now that we’re home. A couple of days in Edinburgh gave us the chance to travel down to Hadrian’s Wall by way of Rosslyn Chapel, made famous by Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. Built in 1446 by Sir William St Clair, the chapel had fallen into disrepair, largely ignored by tourists until the book and movie brought it fame in 2003. Now, over 150,000 people visit this beautiful example of Gothic craftsmanship annually after major conservation work was completed in 2007.
Not only is Edinburgh perfect for history buffs, it’s also a great place for foodies. Locally sourced ingredients abound and the meals we had at Angels with Bagpipes and The Outsider were beyond delicious. Both restaurants are located in the Old Town and well worth the visit.
A trip to Edinburgh would not be complete without spending some time in the National Museum of Scotland. Even after three days of intensive sightseeing, we couldn’t pass up the chance to view the collections that trace the history of Scotland – its land, its people and their achievements. We could have spent an entire day there, but for our tired legs and lack of time.
Dublin is an entirely different kind of city than Edinburgh, with a faster pace and a decidedly more modern feel. Instead of staying in town, we picked an elegant apartment up the coast in Malahide, once a sleepy fishing village, now an upscale town that is an easy 20 minute commute by train (stay tuned for more on the apartment!)
When in Dublin, do as the natives do… Drink Guinness and spend a morning at the Storehouse, an interactive museum that will teach you anything and everything you wanted to learn about Ireland’s top brew.
And finally, one of our most favorite tours was a private viewing of a national treasure and some say, miracle – The Book of Kells – which is on exhibit in the library at Trinity College. This 1,200 year old illustrated manuscript has survived Viking raids, the English Reformation, and two months in a ditch and it’s still breathtakingly beautiful. The visit is well worth the extra expense of booking an early access tour to beat the crowds (over 600,000 visitors yearly) and learn about this magnificent work of art!
P.S. If any of you are planning to visit these cities, please do send us an email; we have so much more to share.